As you saw last week, we started our cabinet process by working with a local kitchen designer. She took my rough sketches, pictures, pinterest boards, and more to create cabinet plans for four areas of our house.
In my opinion, this was money well spent, as it allowed us to get some quotes from various sources on building the cabinets before any kind of deposit was made. I found that there were three types of cabinet options: stock (i.e. Home Depot, Lowe’s), semi-custom (i.e. Wood Mode, DeWills), and custom (local shops).
Due to all of the details that I wanted in our cabinets and looking at prices a la carte online at big box stores, I ruled out stock cabinetry for the main areas (i.e. kitchen, etc). I wasn’t sure if I couldn’t use them in the other areas of the house (upstairs bathrooms, etc) but knew that I wouldn’t be able to get exactly what I wanted with stock cabinetry in the kitchen.
Then, assuming that semi-custom cabinetry would be less expensive than custom, I started looking at semi-custom options. These are cabinets that are (as far as I understand) custom made but made in a large production area that is centrally located around the country. They would then be shipped to you and installed by someone locally.
I researched about local companies that carried these semi-custom cabinets and got in touch with one about a quote. After going back and forth on door styles, colors, etc and letting her price off of my initial sketches from Valerie, she came back with a price for the kitchen only that was two times my entire cabinet budget for the house!
After that I was resigning myself to drastically cutting the amount of cabinets in our house and just hoping that I could squeak out with the kitchen I wanted even if the rest of the cabinets weren’t of my dreams. I headed to a custom cabinet maker in our area interested in seeing what their estimate looked like.
I worked with one of their designers and went over general colors for the cabinets, style of doors, and our preliminary elevations. We also talked through what I wanted in the other areas of the house other than those that I had pre-existing elevations for. A few days after our meeting I got their estimate and it was just slightly over our cabinet budget and that included all of the cabinets for the house, not just the kitchen!
Once I received their initial estimate I decided to let the custom shop do all of our cabinets so that they would all be coming from the same place and would have the same finish and quality. We could have substituted out some of the upstairs bathrooms with stock cabinets but it would have been near impossible to get them to match up with the other cabinetry in the house. Also, the ease of doing it all in one place (since they were at our budget after all!) beat having to trek to multiple places to make cabinet decisions!
I found that working with a custom shop will ensure you multiple things. First, that you will be working with a local person and supporting a local business. This means that the guys building your cabinets are in very close contact with the people installing your cabinets who are in very close contact with the person who designed your cabinets. This means that the shop is local and you can get your pieces gradually as they are made as opposed to (I assume) having them all shipped in at once taking up days of building time getting all the cabinets installed at one time.
Second, a local custom shop will make it easy to stop by for small meetings to pick out things like door hardware and approve cabinet color samples. You get to put your hands on these items and touch them before you agree to put them in your house for the next twenty or more years.
And third, a custom shop does everything custom. Which means that they aren’t reworking some pre-existing cabinet design to fit your space. You aren’t limited to the places that you can scale back and the places that you can insert intricate details. They can take your vision and make exactly what you want.
I’m still not exactly sure how this translates into better prices than semi-custom cabinets or retrofitting stock cabinets with all of the bells and whistles that you want, but somehow it does! Our builder has told us multiple times that he can’t believe the amount of cabinetry that we got for being under budget on our cabinets.
And best of all, your cabinet shop is still in your area after the cabinets have been installed. They’ll have someone could out and go through your cabinet punch list to fix all the little things that were wrong. They are local if a glide on your drawers break or if you need to have it explained how to work your pull out ironing board.
I am so happy with the way that our cabinets turned out and would highly recommend using a local cabinet shop to build your cabinets. I’ll be happy to share the contact information of our shop and the designer that we worked with because they have been fantastic! Just for comparison, look at the stages of the sink wall in the kitchen.